DO AS THE DANES DO

With four bliss­ful days to ex­plore Den­mark’s cap­i­tal city, Has­mita Amtha dis­cov­ers the culi­nary gems that make Copen­hagen a warm and invit­ing place

Food & Home - - Contents - PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY HAS­MITA AMTHA

If your New Year’s res­o­lu­tion is to travel, you should con­sider Copen­hagen for a les­son on how life should be lived

FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS

Ar­riv­ing with the morn­ing, we make our way from the air­port to a break­fast spot in the heart of the old city. Trav­el­ling from the out­skirts, we pass through the morn­ing rush; I say ‘rush’, yet there’s a cool and calm na­ture to the city as its peo­ple go about their busi­ness – all in uni­son with the ut­most re­spect to­wards one an­other.

“Does ev­ery­one cy­cle around town?” a fel­low South African tourist asks our Dan­ish travel com­pan­ion, Ditte Furstrand Nytofte – travel trade and PR pro­ject man­ager at Won­der­ful Copen­hagen, the tourism or­gan­i­sa­tion for the Cap­i­tal Re­gion of Den­mark – as the rest of us glance over a rather in­dul­gent break­fast menu.

We’re at one of Ditte’s favourites: Con­di­tori La Glace. One of the old­est (and be­lieved to be the best) con­fec­tionery out­lets in Den­mark, Con­di­tori La Glace is a fam­ily-owned busi­ness that’s been passed on to sev­eral gen­er­a­tions since 1870. While we wait for our orders, some of us sip on cof­fee while oth­ers in­dulge in tra­di­tional hot choco­late, which com­prises blocks of choco­late melted into a mix of warm, sweet milk and dou­ble-thick cream. For added in­dul­gence, each drink comes topped with whipped cream.

Go­ing back to the Danes and their means of com­mut­ing, Ditte smiles and says: “This is why we can in­dulge in cake for break­fast – cy­cling is not only great for your health, but it’s also best for the en­vi­ron­ment.” This cy­cling cul­ture has in­flu­enced Copen­hagen’s road plan­ning, with bike lanes and cy­cling-friendly bridges that can be seen through­out the city and sub­ur­ban ar­eas. “Ev­ery­one cy­cles here; our chil­dren learn from a young age to cy­cle to school. It’s a way of life,”

Ditte adds.

Break­fast is served and in­cludes a se­lec­tion of kanel­sne­gle (sweet

cin­na­mon rolls), crois­sants, al­mond pas­tries and slices of two of La Glace’s spe­cial­ity layer cakes: georginek­age (a mac­a­roon base topped with lay­ers of cream, light vanilla sponge and pre­serves, and dec­o­rated with whipped cream and fresh straw­ber­ries), and ap­pelsink­age (a mac­a­roon base topped with lay­ers of light vanilla sponge and orange cus­tard, and cov­ered in orange-flavoured ic­ing, dec­o­rated with caramelised orange slices with a rim of but­ter­cream).

A FEAST FOR THE EYES

With some time to play be­fore we check into the newly re­fur­bished Ho­tel SKT. Annæ, which will be our home for the next four days, Ditte takes us through one of Europe’s long­est pedes­trian streets, Strøget, for a spot of shop­ping at bud­get-friendly chain stores, as well as high-end fash­ion bou­tiques like Louis Vuit­ton and Prada. While sales at fa­mil­iar cloth­ing re­tail­ers like Zara and H&M ex­cite us, we find our­selves drawn to the Scan­di­na­vian de­sign stores that line the street, so we have a quick browse through HAY, Søstrene Grene, Ge­org Jensen, Royal Copen­hagen and Il­lums Bo­lighus, while tak­ing note of which ones we’ll en­sure a re­turn to.

A GOURMAND’S PAR­ADISE

The Nordic re­gion is well known for its de­sign savvi­ness; and its culi­nary pres­ence is not shy of bril­liance ei­ther. Last year, Miche­lin Guide

Nordic Coun­tries 2018 awarded a to­tal of 19 Miche­lin stars to 15 restau­rants in Copen­hagen alone.

Yet, the proof is in the pud­ding (or lunch, in this case), so we head to Miche­lin-starred eatery Restau­rant Palæ­gade, where we’re in­tro­duced to tra­di­tional Dan­ish open sand­wiches. Bet­ter known as smør­re­brød, these are made up of slices of rye bread loaded with a va­ri­ety of top­pings (think ev­ery­thing from her­ring and home­smoked sal­mon to mush­rooms à la crème). Restau­rant Palæ­gade of­fers a whop­ping se­lec­tion of 40 dif­fer­ent top­pings that each pair well with lo­cally pro­duced beer, ak­vavit (a flavoured, dis­tilled spirit), and fruity or aro­matic snaps [schnapps].

Al­ter­na­tively, a “green” meal might be some­thing you’re keen on. If that’s the case, be sure to visit sim­pleRAW, which is si­t­u­ated on Gråbrø­dretorv square (one of the most pic­turesque pi­az­zas in the Latin Quar­ter – a his­toric neigh­bour­hood in cen­tral Copen­hagen), and try out their ve­gan and raw-food of­fer­ings.

On our sec­ond day, we de­cide to stop here for brunch and aptly or­der brunch boards, each of which in­cludes a poké bowl (com­pris­ing or­ganic tofu, cau­li­flower rice, av­o­cado, red cab­bage, mango, sea­weed, pick­led gin­ger and cu­cum­ber); rice-pa­per rolls with av­o­cado, served with tamari sauce; pars­ley spread on a car­rot cracker; av­o­cado on a slice of gluten-free raw seed bread; and a slice of triple­choco­late cake. With sus­tain­able liv­ing in mind, the menu changes sea­son­ally, so it’s worth­while to re­visit this lit­tle gem if you’re ever in Copen­hagen more than once.

WHAT’S FOR DIN­NER?

Din­ner is al­ways a high­light when trav­el­ling and, while the Danes tend to be rather ca­sual about their dress code (even at Miche­lin-starred restau­rants), we de­cide to don our glad rags for our first night out in the Scan­di­na­vian city. Wear­ing our best, we sit down at Miche­lin­starred restau­rant 108 (known as the lit­tle brother of world-fa­mous Dan­ish restau­rant Noma), where we ex­pe­ri­ence chef and co-owner

Kris­tian Bau­mann and his team’s style of cook­ing, which fo­cuses on lo­cal in­gre­di­ents and es­tab­lished pre­serv­ing meth­ods, like pick­ling and fer­ment­ing.

Dur­ing our sec­ond night we move from fine dining to a more tra­di­tional din­ner made mod­ern at Brdr. Price in Tivoli Gar­dens (an amuse­ment park in cen­tral Copen­hagen). This invit­ing spot is as com­fort­ing as child­hood mem­o­ries of walk­ing around a theme park while en­joy­ing a huge cloud of pink can­dyfloss.

Thus far, we feel as if we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced it all; un­til our third evening when we ar­rive at the sum­mer house of Meet the Danes’ founder and owner, Anett Wæber. This in­no­va­tive

THE SE­LEC­TION OF SWEET TREATS AT CON­DI­TORI LA GLACE WILL MAKE ANY HEART SWOON

A VISIT TO RESTAU­RANT PALÆ­GADE WILL FUEL YOU FOR AN AF­TER­NOON OF EX­PLOR­ING OUR DESSERT AT BRDR. PRICE: A SWEET BOARD SERVED WITH COF­FEE

MICHE­LIN-STARRED RESTAU­RANT 108

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